Thread: Google picks profits over principle

OriginalGoober - 8/2/2018 at 12:40 AM



Google sees no conflict of interest or damage to its corporate image as it moves to create a state-backed alternative internet for the communist country.

https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2018/08/google-of-dont-be-evil-fame-plans-a -censored-search-app-for-china

n 2010, Google declared war on China. The Internet search giant had gone back and forth about whether to make its product available in the totalitarian country, ultimately deciding that it was more ethical to offer a censored version of Google search—one that complied with the Chinese government’s strict regulations—than to leave some 1.4 billion people without access to information. But after learning that a hack had compromised the Gmail addresses of several Chinese human-rights activists, Google directed all its Chinese traffic through an unfiltered Hong Kong server, effectively daring Beijing to shut it down. By 2013, Google’s share of the search market in China had plummeted to less than 2 percent.

Now, however, it seems Google is reversing course yet again. According to internal documents obtained by the Intercept, Google is looking to launch a censored version of its search engine for the country, in what represents a major shift in its policy toward China. The plan, code-named “Dragonfly,” has been underway for more than a year, but is seemingly accelerating. Per the documents, Google’s censored search engine would blacklist Web sites and search terms related to religion, peaceful protest, democracy, political opposition, and human rights. Pending Chinese government approval, the search engine could launch in a custom Android app in the next six to nine months. The app would provide a sanitized version of Google’s search results, automatically identifying and filtering Web sites blocked by China’s Great Firewall. The same censorship would apply across Google’s entire platform: image searches and suggested search features will also incorporate the blacklists.


Google C.E.O. Sundar Pichai, who reportedly discussed a deal with Wang Huning, a top adviser to Chinese president Xi Jinping, has not commented on the story. But Google is not denying it, either. “We don’t comment on speculation about future plans,” a Google spokesperson told Bloomberg. Wall street is taking the prospect seriously: shares of the Chinese tech giant Baidu, which controls about three-quarters of the Chinese search market, dropped more than 7 percent Wednesday.



The pivot isn’t particularly surprising, given that China has some 720 million Internet users. “Don’t Be Evil” was an appealing mission statement, for a time, but it appears fiduciary concerns will take precedence. China’s digital advertising market alone is worth about $50 billion, and it’s growing fast. Nor has Google been coy about its interest in the those ad dollars. “I care about servicing users globally in every corner,” Pichai remarked in 2016. “Google is for everyone. We want to be in China serving Chinese users.”

Google, of course, is hardly the only Silicon Valley company to ditch its ideals in pursuit of the tech world’s dark grail. Mark Zuckerberg has made attempt after desperate attempt to get in the Chinese government’s good graces, taking Mandarin lessons; hosting Chinese Internet chief Lu Wei at Facebook’s headquarters; taking a seat on the advisory board at Tsinghua University’s School of Economics and Management; courting China’s top propaganda chief, Liu Yunshan; and even reportedly creating a tool to help Beijing censor Facebook. Yet time and again, these efforts have come to naught.


Will Pichai’s forays into China open a path for Zuckerberg? Google wouldn’t be the first American tech company to forge an unholy alliance with Beijing. Microsoft’s Bing already operates a censored version of its search engine in China, and plenty of other companies would be happy to comply with Chinese law if it meant gaining access to the country’s exploding middle class. Still, the initial reaction to the “Dragonfly” leak hasn’t gone over well with Internet-freedom activists. “This has very serious implications not just for China, but for all of us,” Patrick Poon, a Hong Kong-based member of Amnesty International, told the Intercept. “It will set a terrible precedent for many other companies who are still trying to do business in China while maintaining the principles of not succumbing to China’s censorship.”



BoytonBrother - 8/2/2018 at 01:25 AM

“Liberals claim to want to give a hearing to other views, but then are shocked and offended to discover that there are other views.”

- William F. Buckley


sckeys - 8/2/2018 at 03:08 PM

There’s 50 billion reasons why. Google is so big now, do they have to care?


BoytonBrother - 8/2/2018 at 05:05 PM

quote:
Google sees no conflict of interest or damage to its corporate image as it moves to create a state-backed alternative internet for the communist country.


Goober sees no conflict of interest or damage to his country’s reputation as the president moves to attack Americans and bend over for his foreign adversary daddy.


emr - 8/2/2018 at 08:35 PM

There was a scary article this week in the NY Times re: big tech companies in SF. Because the campuses are so big they include caafeterias with free food. The restaurants/business surrounding them are all going belly up. The employees also bring home food and don't go out for dinner. Not to mention that because of their salary structure housing is un-affordable for anyone eles.

There may truly be 10 companies that own the world

#gothamcity#darkknight

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5K3E5tLoado


Muleman1994 - 8/4/2018 at 03:17 PM

The scary but not surprising part is that Google does not care about human rights.
Profit over principle is quite accurate.


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